This week’s post comes to you from a tired teacher.
Only one week of term left to go and no one is experiencing the highs; it’s definitely the lows. And as they say ‘When you’re low, you do what you know.’
Bearing that phrase in mind, I have discovered over the past decade exactly what it is that I ‘know’ or in other words, what I gravitate to when I’m down and out: classical music.
This week I have pulled out my Life is Beautiful CDs to get through: two freebie CDs that were in the Sydney Morning Herald more than ten years ago. Thank-you ABC Classic FM.
As I write I’ve got the most relaxing Classical album in the world…ever! II playing (I love that there’s a volume two). On that, can I recommend that this post is probably best read with some Massenet -think Meditation from Thais – or Mascagni – think Ave Maria– playing in the background.
Sometimes I wonder how on earth I ended up an English teacher. As much as I do love a chat about the wonders of the ‘English canon’, I consider myself more of a musician than a literary type.
I do believe in the sovereignty of God, but at times it does feel like a cruel twist of fate led me to ending up as an English teacher. Some days I think I’m just a frustrated musicologist instead. But I guess in life we don’t always get what we want.
Trite example: back to ABC Classic FM. Back to the early nineties too. It was then that they released a three CD collection entitled Swoon. It was, quite simply, the best set of CDs the world has ever seen.
And I’m not the only one who thinks that. Proof? The CDs went multi-platinum.
Because I was younger then, and it was not so much the digital age, I used to borrow these CDs from the library somewhat frequently. Until one day I discovered that someone had stolen a Swoon CD (gasp!).
Frankly if I was going to steal anything ever, that’d be it; but it’s breaking one of the Ten Commandments, so I’m not condoning it. But if you’re going to sin and steal anyway; then I at least applaud your choice of item.
And they also stole it for good reason: The Swoon collection CDs were no longer available. There’d been a limited production run. The CDs were Classical Music gold. The Holy Grail of Compositional Compilations.
But they were out of reach forever.
I tell you, all true classical music fans are waiting on the second coming of a release of this compilation.
I can’t tell you how elated I was when one day I was trawling around online and found out that these discs were being rereleased. I genuinely can’t put into words how excited I was.
I also can’t tell you how crushed I felt when I realised that the discs were not the exact original discs (I probably needed to listen to some Classical Music to be able to process it). It was an inferior compilation of some of the original tracks, plus ‘15 new swoons’ (Pfft!).
They took me to the upper realms of a swoon when I saw the title and then crashed me right back down to earth when I read the fine print (I still bought the double disc set anyway).
By this point in time you’re probably wondering when on earth I’m planning on getting to talking about Jesus and whether this post is really just a complaint email to ABC Classic FM.
Well, it might as well be; with the government cuts it’ll probably be just as effective (ie. not at all). I do wonder whether the ABC actually employs anyone to read emails; judging by the lack of response I got when I emailed 7:30 Report last year… three times.
And yes, quite frankly, I’m wondering what the point of this tired rant is too.
But I enjoy talking about music. Because music is art. Art is expression. Art is necessary. Art displays life. Without art we have a very hollow existence.
The Church and Art don’t often have a strong connection in people’s minds; but that’s not right. Music is made by composers and all composers are following in the footsteps of the original creator. Or, in the words of Arnold Schoenberg in his essay, Composition with Twelve Tones:
“To understand the very nature of creation one must acknowledge that there was no light before the Lord said: ‘Let there be Light.’ And since there was not yet light, the Lord’s omniscience embraced a vision of it which only His omnipotence could call forth.”
Whenever we create, we emulate the creator.
And we’re allowed to enjoy it. We’re allowed to be excited by it. God isn’t against the enjoyment of beauty; that makes no sense if he was the one with the original vision of wonder and rapture.
Maybe there’s more of God in this post than at first glance. We swoon because he first allowed such an experience to be in his created design of the whole human experience. Would we have thought of that if we designed humanity and the world? I don’t know that I would have. But I’m thankful that he did.
I still want my original triple CD compilation though.
Yours in symphonic swoon (or at least trying to be),
Bonus extra 😉